The centre piece of Thursday’s card at Cheltenham is the Ladbrokes World Hurdle worth £260,000.00 and run over 3 miles. Big Bucks (pictured with Ruby Walsh) has won the race for the last two years and is a warm favourite to emulate Inglis Drever and win it for a third time. He will not have it all his own way as Grands Crus has been very impressive over course and distance. There might well be a new staying Champion Hurdler waiting in the wings. Neither horse looks much of a betting proposition. Willie Mullins sends two over from Ireland namely Fivefourthree and Mourad. I am sure Ruby Walsh will know how good they are. Fivefourthree won the World Series Hurdle over 3 miles at Punchestown in 2009, missed all of last season through injury, is a course winner, and has returned with a confidence boosting win. Mourad also stays the 3 miles very well, he ran third to Quevega in the World Series Hurdle at Punchestown in 2010, is in good form and could be the eachway value.
The Ryanair Chase also worth £260,000.00 and run over 2 miles 5 furlongs looks as though it could go to Poquelin who was second in the race last year. He will carry the colours of the Stewart Family, the same as Big Bucks.
The first race on the card is the Jewson Novices Chase worth £90,000.00 and run over 2 miles 4 furlongs. Irish trainer Paul Nolan sends over Noble Prince. He will be ridden by Tony McCoy and will undoubtedly attract plenty of support.